DrumBeat: June 2, 2009

Power Surplus to Aid Homes

Weak demand for electricity and abundant stockpiles of fuel are creating conditions that could benefit consumers in two important ways this summer: more reliable delivery of power and, in some places, cheaper prices.

In most parts of the U.S., electricity reserves are getting fatter even though few power plants are being built. Overall U.S. electricity demand is expected to be 1.8% less this summer than last summer, according to the North American Electric Reliability Corp., or NERC, which is responsible for grid operations.

Power demand in industrialized nations usually rises steadily with population growth. However, the sharp drop in the economy, which has shuttered some big power users such as auto plants, has led to an unusually large falloff in demand.

Dow, Conoco Saudi projects delayed

Dow Chemical Co.'s and ConocoPhillips' major joint ventures in Saudi Arabia face delays, a Saudi state oil company official said on Tuesday.

A giant petrochemical plant that Saudi Aramco planned to build with Dow Chemical Co. would start up in 2015. That was about two years behind the initial schedule.

Shell chief expects oil project costs to retreat

Royal Dutch Shell Plc expects oil-project costs to retreat further, Chief Executive Officer Jeroen van der Veer said.

Costs for projects doubled since 2004 before starting to fall last year, Van der Veer told reporters in Abu Dhabi today. Shell is putting “lots of pressure” on contractors to cut project costs, said Van der Veer, who steps down on July 1 and will be succeeded by former Chief Financial Officer Peter Voser.

Full Russian gas supplies restored to Poland - PGNiG

WARSAW (Reuters) - Natural gas supplies to Poland from Russia were fully restored on Monday after Polish gas delivery monopoly PGNiG PGNI.WA signed a previously announced deal with Gazprom's trading unit on Tuesday.

Poland had not been receiving all of its contracted gas supplies from Russia after Ukrainian intermediary RosUkrEnergo, a joint venture between Gazprom and two Ukrainian businessmen, halted deliveries due to a gas row between Moscow and Kiev in January.

General Motors tells Middle East customers, dealers, it is committed to oil-rich region

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — General Motors' Middle East head said the oil-rich region's operations are a "vibrant" part of the automaker and remain open for business, despite its bankruptcy protection filing.

Biomass Power Generates Traction

While solar power is taking root in the sunny Southwest and wind power is growing in the blustery band from the Dakotas to Texas, other places are turning to trees and grass as their best bet for producing renewable energy, leading to a new building boom in "biomass" power plants.

Solar power should replace wind energy, says Jack Steinberger

Europe should scrap its support for wind energy as soon as possible to focus on far more efficient emerging forms of clean power generation including solar thermal energy, one of the world’s most distinguished scientists said yesterday.

Professor Jack Steinberger, a Nobel prize-winning director of the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, said that wind represented an illusory technology — a cul-de-sac that would prove uneconomic and a waste of resources in the battle against climate change.

“Wind is not the future,” he told the symposium of Nobel laureates at the Royal Society. Instead, he said, technologies such as solar thermal power — for which parabolic mirrors reflect the Sun’s rays to generate heat and electricity — represent a more promising way of supplanting fossil fuels. “I am certain that the energy of the future is going to be thermal solar,” he told The Times. “There is nothing comparable. The sooner we focus on it the better.”

Electricity figures show energy efficiency isn't working

The conclusion of the analysis in this short note is that almost all of the reduction in energy demand comes from cuts in usage in big industrial and commercial users. This means that the most likely cause of the cut is the fall in economic activity. Household demand seems to have remained about constant.

Rubin reveals a world bound to crude

"Right now, the oil companies of the world have their hands deep between the cushions, and so far they been coming up with enough dimes and quarters to get us all to work. But there is only so much change to be found, and more people are heading out the door to work every day."

That might true, but what of the fact that less oil is used to generate the same amount of GDP as was 20 years ago. Shouldn't that mean we are not as dependent on oil as we were?And isn't that the argument that was being made as oil was leaping toward the $150 mark? Because we use less, said the economists, the world could weather higher oil prices.

That might be true--to a point. But then something called the efficiency paradox kicks and the result is that even though the developed world might use less oil, it's because we are more efficient that consumption actually goes up.

Kevin Drum: Chart of the Day

As I've mentioned before, one of the big problems with reaching peak oil isn't just that oil prices will go up, but that they're likely to spike up and down fairly violently. In 2006, for example, demand for oil pretty much bumped up against the total available supply, which meant that even a small amount of additional demand was enough to send oil prices spiraling up past $150 in little more than a year. The ensuing recession reduced demand by only a modest amount, but that was enough to cause oil prices to plummet to under $50 in the same timespan. And this isn't just a demand-side problem: a small glitch in supply could easily have caused the same kinds of violent price spikes.

As a general rule, the world can handle high oil prices. In fact, to the extent that high prices get us off our butts and looking for cleaner, more sustainable sources of energy, high oil prices are a good thing. But what the world economy can't handle is constant, huge gyrations in oil prices: nearly all of our recessions since 1973 have been jump started by a sudden spike in oil prices.

Shell warns oil prices could spike on low investment

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - Low energy investment could lead to a future spike in oil prices, the chief executive of Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) said on Tuesday.

"If the oil prices stay volatile I'm afraid there will be too much slowdown in investment," Jeroen van der Veer said at an energy conference in Abu Dhabi.

"I think too low capacity means the next price spike is to come."

Construction vessel market improving

HOUSTON, TEXAS: As oil prices begin a slow climb, worldwide offshore construction vessel activity appears to be rising slightly alongside it. Derrick pipelay and pipelay barges continue to account for the majority of large construction vessel activity around the world.

Demand for derrick barges dropped in April before moving back to 28 in May out of a total 42 vessels, according to data gathered by ODS- Petrodata. This is down from a peak of 36 working units in October 2008.

Are oil prices threatening the world economy already?

A report by Jeff Rubin, then the chief economist at CIBC Markets, would also suggest today’s prices are not a threat: “If triple-digit oil prices are what started the recession, then $60 oil is what will end it,” he postulated.

So we are not in the danger zone yet. But could we be headed there?

Oil firms worldwide plan investments worth $375 billion this year

World's largest national oil companies (NOCs) and international oil companies (IOCs) are planning investments worth more than $375 billion (Dh1,377bn) despite ongoing concerns about oil demand, consultant Ernst & Young (E&Y) said in a report.

The view comes close on the heels of an International Energy Agency (IEA) statement, which warned that upstream oil investments will fall more than 21 per cent this year due to projections of low demand. That would be a reduction of almost $100bn, the IEA said. While Opec has forecasted an year-on-year decline of 1.6 mb/d in 2009, IEA said oil demand will fall by 3.5 per cent this year.

Kurdish oil begins flowing to international market

IRBIL, Iraq - Iraq's self-ruled Kurdish region officially started pumping crude oil to the international market on Monday, a development that will boost Iraq's cash-strapped economy.

The move could also bolster the Kurds' political clout and ease tension with the central government that has threatened to erupt into new violence.

Yemen to inaugurate first LNG plant

SANAA (AFP) – Yemen will inaugurate its first liquefied natural gas plant next month and begin exporting in August with the first shipment destined for South Korea, the oil minister said on Sunday.

The plant at Balhaf on the south coast is ready "for its official inauguration on June 16, and the export of its first shipment of gas to South Korea will come eight weeks later," Oil Minister Amir Salem al-Aydarus said.

Economic Crisis Set to Dominate Forum

Organizers of the annual International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg last spring boasted that the event is becoming “a second Davos,” a supreme showcase of Russia’s vast and diversified business potential. This confidence was largely based on then-skyrocketing oil and gas prices. But with the Russian economy now facing a recession due to the fall of crude prices and markets after financial turmoil developed in the second half of 2008, the tone and hopes of the forum’s hosts have become more modest. This year’s forum, like dozens of such business events around the world, is all about anti-crisis measures.

Saudi Arabia Suffers Lack of Working Women as Oil Fluctuates

The success -- or failure -- of Saudi Arabia’s plans could affect the stability of the whole region, which supplies the world with much of its oil and has also been a breeding ground for terrorists. “It’s a very big, populous country in a risky neighborhood,” Handy says. “It’s the holder of a tremendous amount of oil resources that are of great importance to the global economy. So everybody has an interest in its political future and the development of its economy.”

Recognizing this strategic significance, U.S. President Barack Obama plans to visit King Abdullah in Riyadh tomorrow to discuss such issues as peace in the Middle East, terrorism and the price of oil. Obama has said he intends to tell the king that “huge spikes” in energy prices would hurt the interests of both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

Pemex sees offshore platform deaths suit

A Mexican congressman said he will file suit against state-owned Pemex before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, contending that violations of labor laws have led to 116 deaths on offshore platforms in the past four years.

China Aviation to widen Asian fuel trade

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China Aviation Oil (Singapore) Corp Ltd (CAO) plans to add two traders to prepare for double-digit growth in jet fuel demand in 2010 after this year's contraction and to expand its trade across Asia, its CEO said on Tuesday.

Hurricane Season Less Likely to Wind Up O&G Industry

Already off to a quiet start, June 1 marks the beginning of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which spans five months and ends, to the relief of operators braving the storms in the Gulf of Mexico, on Nov. 30.

Contrary to forecasts made in December 2008, the oil and gas industry can expect a reduction in the number of tropical storms and hurricanes this year. Both the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University (CSU) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) cite a chance of up to 12 to 14 named storms, respectively, compared to the 16 named storms in 2008 -- five of which developed into major hurricanes.

Oil Patch Digs in on Tax Issue

Obama administration proposals to reap more tax dollars from the foreign-earned profits of U.S. companies are not going over well in the Oil Patch.

Billed as a way to make multinational corporations pay their fair share to Uncle Sam, the measures could add millions to the tax bills of some of some of the largest oil and gas companies, on top of the billions the industry says it already pays each year in taxes.

Toyota Prius sales boom in Japan despite slowdown

TOKYO – Orders in Japan for Toyota's new Prius hybrid have topped a booming 110,000, a major dealership chain said Saturday, in what is turning out to be a rare bright spot in the gloomy auto market.

The third-generation Prius officially rolled out in Japan just two weeks ago. But dealers are already flooded with orders, including some placed weeks in advance, according to the dealership.

General Motors in tentative deal to sell Hummer

NEW YORK – General Motors Corp. said Tuesday that it has tentatively agreed to sell its Hummer brand, a day after the U.S. automaker filed for bankruptcy protection with hopes that it will transform its most profitable assets into a new company within just 30 days.

The Detroit-based company did not name the proposed buyer or the price, but said the sale will likely save more than 3,000 U.S. jobs in manufacturing, engineering and at various Hummer dealerships.

New York 'green police' nab dirty criminals

NEW YORK (AFP) – A big red dump truck cruises along the Triborough Bridge from the Bronx, spitting thick black smoke in the air. Seconds later, the "green police" turn on their sirens and are in hot pursuit.

The polluting driver is pulled over and his face betrays astonishment and disbelief as he sees a young man step out of a dark green SUV emblazoned with the letters "DEC," for Department of Environmental Conservation.

Kazakhstan's uranium 'stolen' by ex-official

ASTANA (AFP) – The recently imprisoned former head of Kazakhstan's state nuclear power agency stole the majority of the Central Asian nation's uranium deposits, security officials alleged on Monday.

Former Kazatomprom head Mukhtar Dzhakishev and other company officials illegally shifted ownership of uranium mines worth tens of billions of dollars through a network of offshore companies, the KNB security service said.

India's Electrifying Women

WASHINGTON (OneWorld.net) - In India, teams of "barefoot solar engineers" are bringing electricity to rural villages. The project -- part of a larger campaign to help Indian villagers be self-sufficient -- trains women to build and maintain solar energy units.

160 Syrian villages deserted 'due to climate change'

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Some 160 villages in northern Syria were deserted of their residents in 2007 and 2008 because of climate change, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The report drawn up by the International Institute for Sustainable Development warns of potential armed conflict for control of water resources in the Middle East.

"The 2007/8 drought caused significant hardship in rural areas of Syria. In the northeast of the country, a reported 160 villages have been entirely abandoned and the inhabitants have had to move to urban areas," it said.

U.S. on way to becoming climate leader: Yergin

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The United States may soon take the mantle as the global leader on climate change in part because of its strong research and development on energy, said oil historian and analyst Daniel Yergin.

"The United States is way ahead of everybody else," on research and development of alternative fuels and energy efficiency, Yergin, chairman of IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA), told the Reuters Global Energy Summit in Washington.

Free carbon emissions permits could create added costs

Those free passes that the House climate bill gives to major greenhouse gas-emitting industries might not be so free for consumers.

'Mystery' climate case might become issue in Sotomayor confirmation

The global warming case goes to the heart of a question that opponents are expected to raise during Sotomayor's confirmation: whether she is willing to issue opinions that create new law.

Burger Kings deny global warming

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Several Burger King restaurants in and around Memphis, Tenn., were seen displaying the message "Global warming is baloney" on their signs, according to the Memphis Flyer .

U.S. institutes lead in environmental research expertise

U.S. laboratories lead the world in green energy and environmental research expertise, an analysis of science journals shows. But Germany and China are not far behind.

The study of 3,000 research institutions and universities will be released Wednesday by Elsevier, the largest publisher of research journals. Ranked by areas of expertise, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., tops the list in alternative energy, such as solar cells, and environmental science from 2003 to 2007.

Energy shock and oil myths: Will soaring prices crush globalization? Don’t bet on it.

But there is a problem with the premise to which Rubin has attached his career and his reputation: a growing number of economists, and even environmentalists, say this dark scenario is flat-out wrong. It obsesses with counting how many barrels of oil are left in the ground. It also oversimplifies the powerful force of globalization, all the while ignoring some dramatic changes now unfolding; changes that could significantly reduce the world’s reliance on oil. New technologies, new forms of energy, and a new focus on conservation and efficiency are shifting us onto a dramatically different energy path. Your world is not about to get smaller, they say, but it is about to get a whole lot leaner.

Two years ago, Peter Tertzakian, the chief energy economist for ARC Financial Corp., appeared as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Talking about a future energy crisis, Stewart posed one of his trademark, over-the-top questions: “How long do we have before masked madmen roam the cities with AK-47s, Mad Max style?” Tertzakian, who looks like a brainy version of Stewart with glasses and flecks of grey hair, cracked a lopsided smile. “It may not come to that,” he deadpanned. “The good news is that although these transition periods in energy are uncomfortable, usually we come out for the better.” Just as whale oil was replaced by kerosene, which was eventually replaced by today’s fossil fuels, another shift will come.

CERA sees potential oil rebound

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Current oil prices are not justified in the face of weak global demand and a glut of spare supply, but oil supplies could tighten in the next three to five years, energy analyst Daniel Yergin said on Monday.

U.S. gasoline above $2.50 first time since October

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail gasoline prices increased for the fourth week in a row, rising another 9 cents to $2.52 a gallon, the Energy Department said on Monday.

It is the first time gasoline surpassed $2.50 a gallon since last October.

OPEC compliance eroding; US drivers may rev up - IEA

DARWIN (Reuters) - The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members' compliance with production curbs they reaffirmed last week is eroding as prices rise, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said on Monday.

Richard Jones, deputy executive director of the West's energy watchdog, also said that OPEC would not be justified in cutting output, despite still-swollen global oil stocks, and that the strength of U.S. demand this summer could surprise analysts.

Oil speculators threaten British recovery, AA's experts warn

The cost of petrol is threatening to pass the psychologically important £1-per-litre mark, with motoring groups warning that speculators pushing up oil prices are endangering Britain's economic recovery.

Russian gas output hits new lows in May

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's natural gas production declined further in May as the country cut fuel extraction sharply in response to plunging demand in Europe and at home while oil output held steady.

Energy Ministry data showed on Tuesday natural gas production at Russia's Gazprom, the world's top gas producer, reached new lows in a decade of 0.98 billion cubic metres (bcm) per day, down 14 percent from April and 34 percent from May 2008.

European consumers have been delaying gas purchases since the start of the year, waiting for prices to finally catch up with lower oil prices and switching to alternative fuels or pumping gas from underground storage facilities.

Oil stocks look too expensive in short term

Peak oil has arrived and prices are rising once again. The only problem with this story is that demand has peaked -- not supplies. Normalization in oil prices is needed to encourage long-term production; however, the 47% rise in oil prices over the past five weeks is at odds with a well-supplied market for 2009.

OPEC’s Oil Output Rose 1.5% in May, Survey Indicates

(Bloomberg) -- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries increased oil output by 1.5 percent in May, the biggest gain since 2007, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Oil output averaged 28.15 million barrels a day last month, up 405,000 from April, according to the survey of oil companies, producers and analysts. The 11 OPEC members with quotas, all except Iraq, pumped 25.76 million barrels a day, 915,000 more than their target.

Kuwaiti Lawmaker Demands Publication Of Oil Reserves Size

KUWAIT CITY, Kuwait (AFP)--A Kuwaiti lawmaker Monday demanded the oil minister provides the exact size of the OPEC member's crude reserves following doubts over the official figure of 100 billion barrels.

In a question to Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad Abdullah al-Sabah, liberal lawmaker Saleh al-Mulla demanded the volume of recoverable reserves in each Kuwaiti field, including offshore fields and those shared with Saudi Arabia.

Warren Buffett: Peak Oil Apostle?

BUFFETT: Well, ag commodities are a little tough. You know, if I had to on–where ag commodities would be three years from now, up or down, I wouldn’t know which way to bet. But they look like they’ve had quite a run. But if you take something like oil, I mean, we have been sticking straws in the ground now since, what, Titusville in 1850-something with Colonel Drake. And we have–we have–we have found a lot of the oil that’s to be found. And if we’re going to produce–or use 85 million barrels a day now and the rest of the world probably is going to increase its demand in the–in the–in the next five or 10 years, we’re going to have–we’re going to have a tough time maintaining production that satisfies those at this price, even. So I think something like oil, six and a half million humans–or six and a half billion humans are going to use a lot more oil than a lot fewer used 20 years ago or 30 years ago.

Forget Peak Oil, What About Peak Demand?

With so many investors and pundits obsessed with peak oil, they may be missing the real story for oil: that we have passed peak demand and it's only downhill from here.

Is there a calm after the economic storm?

Experts on the oil market say there could be a new "peak oil" price above $US150 per barrel in the next year or two as demand recovers. This is because oil supply is falling while major nations, especially the US, have so far done little to introduce alternative, renewable energy sources.

Peak Oil: What To Do When The Wells Run Dry

During the oil crisis of the 1970s to the rapid rise of oil prices during the early part of the twenty-first century, concerns surrounding the use and availability of this non-renewable resource greatly increased in the minds of many. One theory that always seems to creep up when oil prices rise is the idea of peak oil, which is a hypothetical date at which the world's crude oil production will peak. Every day after this would mean lower production levels and an ever decreasing supply.

Simply put, when the world's oil producers combined can no longer increase their oil output, we will have reached peak oil. Oil will be increasingly difficult to find and extract because there will be less of it and fewer deposits to find.

Culprits in last year's energy spike reappear

Oil prices pushed to new highs for the year today on a weak dollar and new data suggesting manufacturing in China has strengthened. Both of those factors helped send energy prices to record highs last summer.

Technology seen key to oil sands: Chu

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said on Monday he believes technology can solve environmental problems associated with Canada's oil sands and that the huge nearby resource contributes to U.S. energy security.

Take foot off the gas, analysts warn

COMPANIES behind Australia's projected $200 billion investment boom in liquefied natural gas export projects are refusing to concede the need to adjust their aggressive development timetables in response to the financial crisis and the glut in global LNG supplies.

Carbon Plan Puts Unfair Burden on LNG, Woodside Says

(Bloomberg) -- Woodside Petroleum Ltd., Australia’s second-largest gas producer, said the country’s proposed carbon pollution reduction system places an unfair burden on liquefied natural gas producers and may constrain exports of the fuel.

“We remain concerned with the planned cap and trade scheme in its current form,” Woodside Chief Executive Officer Don Voelte said at the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association conference in Darwin today.

Brazil and China boost oil investment

Brazilian and Chinese state oil firms are boosting investment even as their western independent competitors cut expenditure in light of lower demand, according to an Ernst and Young study.

China, The Impeccable Affair and Renewed Rivalry in the South China Sea

Developments in the South China Sea during the first quarter of 2009 reinforced several trends that have been apparent over the past two years. First, the Spratly Islands dispute has once again come to dominate Sino-Philippine relations, despite attempts by Beijing and Manila to move beyond it. Second, China has adopted a more assertive posture toward its territorial and maritime boundary claims in the South China Sea than at any time since the late 1990s. Third, the 2002 breakthrough agreement between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China to manage tensions in the South China Sea is in danger of becoming irrelevant. Fourth, the USNS Impeccable incident on March 8 highlighted the growing strategic importance of the South China Sea for the United States and China, and reawakened concerns in ASEAN capitals that the region may one day become the principal theater wherein Sino-U.S. maritime rivalry is played out.

Worker shortage threatens oil industry

A key player in Australia's oil and gas industry says companies must do more to train and retain staff.

The Deloitte Oil and Gas Group has published a report highlighting the top 10 issues facing the industry.

A shortage of talented workers has come in at number seven.

U.S., Europe Share of Economy to Fall to 49% in 2009, CEBR Says

(Bloomberg) -- The U.S., Canada and Europe will generate less than half of global economic output this year as the recession accelerates a shift in wealth toward China and other nations, a research group said.

The three economies will together account for 49.4 percent of the world economy in 2009, the London-based Centre for Economics and Business Research Ltd said today in its quarterly ‘Global Prospects’ publication. That’s down from a range of 60 percent to 64 percent between 1995 and 2004.

Bye Bye, Barclays

LONDON - Barclays' once helpful Middle Eastern investors have fallen out of love with the British bank. The investment vehicle of the Abu Dhabi royal family announced Tuesday that it was placing around 1.3 billion shares of Barclays, along with 1.5 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) of capital notes, so that it could spend its money instead on energy investments. It is walking away with at least a 1.5 billion pounds ($2.5 billion) in profit, according to one analyst's estimate.

Kunstler: Shattered and Shuttered

The dollar was up to its armpits in quicksand, and oil prices had crept stealthily into the death-to-airlines range, and if, in the old slogan, what's good for General Motors really is good for the USA, then destiny was dealing a harsh lesson to The Land of the Free -- while I made a drive on Thursday (in a Japanese rent-a-car) through the remotest ends of upstate New York State into the province of Ontario, Canada, to see what I could see. What I saw was pretty scary.

You get into these far reaches of upstate New York and your senses report that you have entered something like an HP Lovecraft story, where the sun comes up twenty minutes late, and the magnetic poles are not where they're supposed to be, and the few remaining denizens of the towns all have eleven fingers.... Even though I've seen plenty of desolation like it in other parts of the country -- the back roads of Ohio, the Mississippi River towns of the upper Midwest, the morbid stretch of blue highway between Memphis and Little Rock -- I've never encountered a landscape so shattered by the mere ravages of economic fate.

Part 1: Hyper-population growth--how far down the gopher hole?

“Beyond oil, population is the number one problem of the 21st century, for when oil is gone as we know and use it today—and it WILL be gone—population will still be here.”

China plans new energy development program

The National Development and Reform Commission says China will soon launch a plan for the development of new energy in the country. The commission says in the face of the global financial crisis, a new energy strategy is crucial to boosting the country's energy sector and helping sustain steady growth in the national economy.

G20 renewable energy aid not enough: IEA

LONDON (Reuters) - Renewable energy's sliver of the multi-trillion dollar economic stimulus announced by the world's biggest economies falls far short of the investment needed to meet carbon emissions targets, the head of the International Energy Agency said on Monday.

Obama seeks funding cuts for wave, tidal energy research

The Obama administration has proposed a 25 percent cut in the research and development budget for one of the most promising renewable energy sources in the Northwest - wave and tidal power.

At the same time the White House sought an 82 percent increase in solar power research funding, a 36 percent increase in wind power funding and a 14 percent increase in geothermal funding, it sought to cut wave and tidal research funding from $40 million to $30 million.

ANALYSIS: Canada's Fuel Cell Sector Hungry For Help

OTTAWA - Just as substantial sales growth seems on the horizon for their long-suffering industry, Canada's hydrogen and fuel cell developers fear missing the wave because of lack of government support.

Falling silicon prices pressure thin-film solar

LOS ANGELES/TOKYO (Reuters) - A collapse in silicon prices threatens to put the heat on solar panel makers that use little of the material, such as Japan's Sharp Corp and even low-cost industry darling First Solar Inc.

Spot prices on the solar industry's key raw material, polysilicon, have halved since January, giving a leg up to solar panels that rely heavily on the material.

Brazil to invest in ethanol workers, environment

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - The Brazilian government and the sugar cane-based ethanol industry are hoping to head off complaints about harmful environmental and labor practices by investing in socially responsible production methods, speakers at the 2nd Ethanol Summit 2009 said on Monday.

Old Wood Is New Coal as Polluters Embrace Carbon-Eating Trees

(Bloomberg) -- Wood is becoming a hot commodity in a new low-carbon world.

Power companies are burning trees because they’re renewable and can be cheaper than coal. Wood needs no permit to release carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

Study: Hurricane damage on Texas coast to worsen

The study projected that rising sea levels and more intense hurricanes, due to global warming, will increase structural damage to homes and buildings from a major hurricane in Corpus Christi by 60 percent to 100 percent in about 20 years and by more than 250 percent by the 2080s.

Such a catastrophic storm surge event would translate into projected damage increases of between $100 million to $250 million in around 20 years and of between $250 million and more than $1 billion by the 2080s.

But Irish said such potential damage could happen anywhere along the Texas Gulf Coast and even the rest of the U.S. Gulf Coast due to global warming, in which carbon dioxide and other gases added to the air by industrial and other activities have been blamed for rising global temperatures. This has increased worries about possible major changes in weather and climate.

Draft text at UN climate talks survives first outing

PARIS (AFP) – The draft of a negotiating text for a new pact on climate change survived its first hearing at UN talks on Monday, providing a boost on a road still strewn with many obstacles, delegates and officials said.

Despite criticism from the United States and others, the document was "basically welcomed as a good starting point for the negotiations," said Michael Zammit Cutajar, who framed the text.

No threads started yet so I'll take the opportunity to tell you about one of my best friends and former business partner. Mike began with me at Mobil Oil back in 1975. The fact that he was a great S La. explorationist isn't what stood out the most about Mike. He was one of the nicest guys I've ever known. Compassionate and always involved in community projects helping the unfortunate. He and I also often shared thoughts about PO. Being a career exploration geologist it was a subject of intense interest to him.

We had just swapped some emails last Friday discussing his potential return to Houston or if he would continue his efforts working offshore Brazil. He was really enjoying his projects in the Deep Water play down there. Said it reminded him of the exciting days working S La. 30 years ago.

He mentioned that he and his wife were going to take a little vacation to Paris while there was a lull in activity. He and his wife were on the Air France flight that went down the other night.

sorry to hear that rock,may god be with them...r.m.

My condolences. CNN has Mike and Anne Harris on their front page right now. LINK

I'm sorry to hear about your friend. Given the "One degree of separation Rule" in the Oil Patch these days (most Oil Patch types know most other Oil Patch types through an average of only one intermediary) I suspect that we had some acquaintances in common.

Coincidentally, another geologist and his wife were also flying transatlantic on Sunday (yours truly).


Please accept my sympathies.

Hey Rock --

My condolences. I saw the CNN link as well, citing his work for Devon Energy.

Rockman -
Sorry to hear about your friend. Condolences.
Barry in Spokane

My condolences. These types of accidents really tear at your heart. I don't know if long goodbyes are any better, but it leaves a little hole when you don't get the chance.

My condolences, Rockman. Yesterday I met the sister of an old friend, probably made an ass out of myself recounting old oil patch stories he and I and some of our friends shared, but unfortunately I am the only one in that group still living. Hardly a word about work, just the stories. I think the field part of the oil patch creates a different class of friendship. Where else can to normal guys spend days together as friends and co-workers and not have some buzz going about them? Whether in the professional end of the business or on any of the heavy equipment, we learn to rely on other people and tend to learn quickly who we can count on and who we cannot, and those judgements often carry over to other parts of our lives, not just the work side. This leads to strong friendships, and like WT commented about the degrees of separation, quick association with new friends, especially friends of friends. Most everybody has parents and most people have siblings. Not everyone has a 'best friend.' They can be the hardest to lose. Take care.

Riders on the Storm

...Girl ya gotta love your man
Girl ya gotta love your man
Take him by the hand
Make him understand
The world on you depends
Our life will never end
Gotta love your man, yeah...

- The doors

Together, at least.


As a former business partner, odds are you'll get called upon by the family - may you have the strength and wisdom to provide them with what they need.

And this gent seems to have a theory on 'how' based on the storm.


(and in the crass department - or is that 'how important is TOD'?
US geologist & wife were on Air France plane
© 2009 The Associated Press
June 2, 2009, 9:01AM 2+ hours before the AP.
Via "tin foil hat" http://cryptogon.com/ )

Thanks Eric. That weathergraphics link was very interesting.

You are quite welcome.

I only hope that the 'it was shot down' claims will be mostly quiet.

Along with the rest Rockman. How do you replace a friend? You don't, they live on within you and your memories of them.


Dear Rockman,

My condolences & deepest sympathies for the loss of your friend.



Deepest sympathy for your loss. Both my kids are in Europe. Flying back next week. There is so much we take for granted.


My thoughts are with the Harris' family and of course their friends especially you.


About the thread up top Energy shock and oil myths: Will soaring prices crush globalization? Don’t bet on it.

a growing number of economists, and even environmentalists, say this dark scenario is flat-out wrong. It obsesses with counting how many barrels of oil are left in the ground...

This is just flat out wrong! We, (Peak Oilers), are not obsessed with counting how many barrels of oil are left in the ground, we are concerned only with flow rate. We believe that once this behemoth called world oil production has peaked, it will decline forever.

Of course we are also concerned that these things called "alternative fuels" are a myth. There are alternative fuels but they can never be produced in quantities and with an EROEI that will permit them to replace crude oil.

Ron P.

It is a common debating tactic by those who wish to discount Peak Oil. Claim a different definition for it that is more easily argued against.

That being said, there is some amount of focus on how much is left in the ground, but only in the sense that the basic theory is that oil peaks roughly when 50% of the oil has been produced. While this may be a somewhat useful rule of thumb, looking at the status of individual fields is always going to give much more accurate picture of where things stand.

basic theory is that oil peaks roughly when 50% of the oil has been produced.

Peak flows at 50% URR for an individual well maybe, but the real world data says not for a field or country.

See Simmons latest presentation page 23 for fields:


or look at the Energy Export Data browser for countries:


It seems for the world peak flow rate is actually related to the lack of ready buyers for the oil from the number of profitable oil wells extracting ever more costly oil, not URR. If countries are to peak at 50% URR then pre and post peak areas under the line would be the same - IMO many appear to peak well above 50% URR and are most certainly not gaussian, above ground factors dominate.

Check the data to convince yourself - but the world is now post peak flow rate for crude oil.

a growing number of economists, and even environmentalists, say this dark scenario is flat-out wrong.

Well, I'm convinced. If economists say it's wrong then it must be so. They will surely invent a new energy source, just like they invented petroleum when the whale oil ran out.

Yeah, we'll just go back to kerosene....


Whale oil ... Whale Oil I tells you. Why, they are just swimming around in the Ocean, and some of them are FULL of oil that can be rendered down and burned for light or motor vehicle fuel.

It's just so obvious, why didn't someone thing of it before?

{NB. History is not the strong suit of most of my colleagues in Economics ... indeed, the here and now is not a strong suit either. Modeling with assumptions unanchored in reality but accepted by journal referees is more the go.}

And Whale oil is nothing more than Algae that has been processed.

Actually, whale oil was not used for engine fuel, but it was THE lubricant for automatic transmissions up until the 1950s. Classic car people are still looking for cans of original transmission fluid from that era as the whale oil lubricant is so valuable for so many other things too - like oiling watches and clocks (pre electronic versions)

Modeling with assumptions unanchored in reality but accepted by journal referees is more the go.

Thus, the magic can opener....

Or seal oil, from the Canadian seal hunt. Surely they'd be good as biofuel?

The funniest line in the article is when Rubin mentions that his employer, CIBC, would not be interested in being associated with his (it would appear) honest economic opinions. Without openly stating so, he is admitting that the job of chief economist at any of these financial firms is basically a sales and promotion position. Rubin has always stood out as one of the most (apparently) honest of the bunch, but this was too much for them to accept.

When you open the link to the article, I think that former Prime Minister (?)Mulrooney's(?) picture (and caption) on top of the page sums it all up.

It is a picture of former Prime Minister (1984-93) Brian Mulroney.

I try to be cautious about words like flat out except when I an trying to provoke somebody,having had to eat some of them occasionally.

Local ironworkers used to say you would need "jaws like a Buffalo Shear to eat'em,cause them's mighty hard words."(The machine simply bites big angle irons to length in a single stroke.)

In this case I agree with you.Flat out.

We are already seeing some crops planted locally for market that were last grown such as potatos and green beans that have not been grown here in significant acreages as market crops for decades,as the local growers could not compete with lower cost producers located elsewhere,so long as shipping remained cheap enough.

I expect this trend,which has been readily apparent among small local growers for a couple of years,will continue to grow..Furthermore there is a multiplier effect,in that if it is worth while to grow potatos,you are well positioned to add some squash or watermelons,etc.The local sale for such highly perishable items is often not sufficient for stand alone production,but if you are already equipped and operating,it becomes worthwhile to grow the smaller quantities for roadside markets and the few independent grocers that remain.

I do not want to see food prices shoot dramatically,and as a mostly retired farmer would not benefit much if they were to do so.Producers get only a small fraction of the food dollar anyway.

I am, however,highly amused by and sympathetic to the the ranting and ravings of small local operators every where who are turned away by the supermarket chains in favor of big producers located on the other side of the continent or in Mexico.

One local orchardist has been known to remark profanely that even though he may be bankrupted by high oil prices,it would be worth it to enjoy the experience of leaving the supermarket operators sitting around for a few hours hoping to buy his apples and then sending them packing empty handed,after explaining briefly and brusquely that he has a long term commitment to his regular customers and that he (the supermarket buyer) needs to get in touch with his long term Washinton state supplier. .

Markets change on a whim. Boiling one year and gone the next. I was just speaking with an ex grower who worked his irrigated ground in the Columbia basin for generations around sugar beets. Rotations, soil practice, and machinery all to beets. Buyer pulled out in '93, and unable to switch, he had to start leasing to other operators. Seems to me the switch to corn syrup for soft drinks was about then, but not sure. He was complaining about corn, though, saying a neighbor who had switched to continuous feed corn was leaching all the nutrients from the farms adjacent.

Washington may be a big apple producer, but talk to the orchardists there and talk for the last 10 plus years is the effect China has had on them. Number one, exports to China, previously a very large buyer, fell like a rock with all the new Chinese production. Apples were considered a delicacy in Pacific Rim markets, and commanded a high price. And #2, the Chinese production has taken alot of other buyers. Many sections of older Red and Yellow Delicious have been cut down in last decades, switching to the new "kings" of the US market, the Fuji, Braeburn, and Gala. From the what goes around around comes around department, these varieties are from the Pacific Rim. Fuji from Japan, Braeburn and Gala from New Zealand.

Doug,I agree with you in pretty much every respect.Really all your are doing is expanding on my remarks,and doing a good job.

We grow Fujis and Galas on our place.

But the original discussion at this instant is focused on the relative shift in costs among various producers as shipping costs rise,and both Washinton state and China are going to be paying more to sell in the Eastern US.Just how much these shifts in shipping expenses will mean is going to be hard to predict-even more so than oil prices,because oil prices in and of themselves are not the only factor affecting prices.

There is also a trend beginning to emerge concerning chain stores stocking and advertising local products.The ads would have you believe that the store operators have done something revolutionary by buying locally.

As you state, it's not shipping alone that will determine whether local products make it in local stores. Part consumer demand-we love one stop shopping and no longer take trips to the hardware, bakery, market, and butcher each day. And we want to fill our prescriptions and gas tanks at the same time. Hard for real farmer's market to compete. And the retailers, in addition to volume, want product consistency, eye appeal, and prepackaging all at once. I was recently reading a story on the "Hermiston melons", for generations a virtual trademark in the northwest for quality and excellence from a local Oregon family farm, throwing big $ at new machinery and sorters for WalMart. Semi loads can consist only of melons 14-16 lb, not a lb over or below, so they can do unit pricing, no scale at the cash register. But you bet, some WalMart's have set up little "Farmer's Market" in store to showcase local production, with growers held to their demands. Something revolutionary indeed.

Although I'd love to see it, I have alot of reservations on how big this local movement will actually grow. The actual calorie demands of an area-read grain-are just so large. That and the myriad of state and federal regulations anymore that work against the small growers and producers, among many other factors. It's not just economics.

Back to apples, do the Northern Spy and other old eastern varieties to get around Chinese and large growers. But I bet you and others already are. I have a small orchard, couple acres, and I marvel how you folks back east can even grow apples. All your pests and diseases, holy mackeral. First time in 20 years we had fireblight conditions in blossom time last year, I had close to 15% of my trees killed or cut back to scaffolding limbs. Makes you want to cry, after all those years getting that tree to fruit. And you look at that almost yearly, from what I understand.

Doug,You have obviously spent some time thinking about these things.

Imo,our local orchard industry will continue to shrink until such a time as consumer purchasing power is reduced to such an extent that an apple that looks a little more like mother natures products normally look(and less like apples in a fake fruit basket)becomes the better deal in the eye of the buyer than a "Barbie" apple.Little girls do grow up to be moms,after all,and how many moms who can AFFORD the best looking fruit will buy anything else?

I expect Moms will begin carpooling to the supermarket at about the same time this change
in buying habits comes to pass.

The best looking half or two thirds of our local crop,even with our less favorable climate,looks as good as anybody elses,but the remainder suffer from various cosmetic blemishes ,meaning they are sent to the juice house or cannery at a near giveaway price some years.

That is enough to put the handwriting on the wall.

Of course from a nutritional or flavor viewpoint there is no little or no discernable difference in apples properly harvested and handled regardless of the source.

The Chinese growers labor costs are so low that thier competitive advantage is formidable,but maybe they will run out of land suitable for orchards,or decide to eat thier production.Maybe...

Predictin' as Yogi said is tough,specially 'bout the future.

He was complaining about corn, though, saying a neighbor who had switched to continuous feed corn was leaching all the nutrients from the farms adjacent.

Err - how is that possible?

The way I read it, the adjacent neighbor is leaching all the nutrients from his own land. I agree that it seems impossible to leach the nutrients off someone else's land.


On the grand scale,nutrients are removed from an area as crops are harvested in one place but consumed in another,resulting in the "other" place becoming polluted with excess nutrients.Hog farms and beef feedlots are probably the two most notorious examples in the US at the producer level,with poultry operations running a strong third.Don't hold me to these relative ranks,I am working from memory.

At the consumer level, most of our organic waste winds up either in the water or in landfills.I expect that this is old news to you and most readers here.

My guess is that the author of the comment you question is confusing the depletion of the soil generally over large areas(macro) with micro depletion at the individual farm level.

I cannot think of a mechanism that would allow a corn farmer to rob his nieghbor of significant quantities of soil nutrients in the way that horizontal drilling is said to be used to hook a little extra oil sometimes from an adjacent lease holder.

Otoh,if the "nutrient" is water,pumping obviously depletes the nieghbors water supply by lowering the water table. Farmers don't usually refer to water by any other name,but it is of course THE necessary nutrient.

I mis-read the message last night - I was reading it that the neighbors were causing HIS land to leach.

Like it or not, when one send 'raw' farm product from the land - the various elements in the soil go with the crop. Seed would be better than say alfalfa.

When one refines the crop as say oil or ethyl alcohol - it becomes possible that no soil elements would leave.

(and yes - potable water rules.)

I'm confused. Was this article written by Colin Campbell? Is it a different Colin Campabell?

Good question but I haven't a clue.

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Anyone?

As Rubin said in his book "Your World is About to Get a Lot Smaller" something like, "No one is saving the easiest to the last."

Bearing this idea in mind, it seems that the typical Hubbert curve will have some time distortion after peak oil flow. It would be a wild presumption to what degree but to be prepared for surprises is always a good idea.

Just like: If you were short the DOW index and GM closes many plants and dismisses thousands and thousands of employees … surprise!!!

Re: Falling silicon prices pressure thin-film solar

Looks like there's a sliver lining to those storm clouds of recession/depression. Or should I say a silicon lining...

E. Swanson

In connection with the "worry" about petrol about to pass 1 pound/litre, the national average has just done so:


However, I doubt that passing the barrier will do more than make people annoyed and grumbly. AFAICS the UK jobs market seems to be split: if you've lost your job then there's too many "good candidates" looking for jobs to make it an experience where you feel comfortable you'll definitely get back on your feet, but if you have a job there's no widespread culture of pay cuts or hours reductions yet. (Some firms have, but not that many.)

The New Yorker just published an article by Elizabeth Kolbert on "The Sixth Great Extinction."

I could not get to it online, but did get to a good podcast interview with Kolbert on the New Yorker homepage.

I did a presentation on the transition into the Eremozoic for my son's 5th and 6th grade class yesterday.

The students were very engaged -- I've given talks to my kid's classes each year in elementary school, and always get terrific response from students and teachers and even from some parents.

Are we preparing our kids for the real world they will grow up into, or are we preparing them for a fantasy based on the last thirty years of propaganda that turns our kids into consumers rather than citizens?

By the way, I encouraged the students to google "eremozoic" and "E.O. Wilson" and "apocatastasis" and "Holocene" and "Cenozoic" as well as "Sixth Great Extinction" and to talk with their parents about these things.

I took the students for rides on my little electric utility truck -- my little work horse. We talked about the fact that it is not the strongest or the smartest who will survive, but those who are sensitive to changes in their habitat and who are able to adapt.

We also talked about the importance of living in the present, cherishing our loved ones right now, and being grateful for the terrific experiences life has brought us so far. We need to be able to laugh and play and love right now to stay healthy.

We also talked about the importance of focusing on our own attitudes and actions, rather than trying to carry the weight of the whole world on our shoulders. The big and long term outcomes are up to Mother Nature, Father Sky, God .... see "apocatastasis."

Time for an update from Korea.
I've been here only a week and a half, in Seoul, Daegu, and on vacation on an island in the Yellow Sea.
Just like any in other major city on this whole plan damnet, the streets here are impassable twice a day, five times a week, choked with personal autos and taxis blasting through our remaining petroreserves.

Don't get me wrong - I wish we could have this kind of train ridership in the States, even in my Portland hometown. I've been on the KTX (bullet) train twice in two days, which is truly a civilized experience compared to air travel, and at up to 300kmph, quite competitive. There are three separate train systems that weave together in the Gyeongseong Station in Seoul, and that doesn't count the subway.

But what I wanted to note is the hysterical language in the Western MSM in contrast to the actual feelings of the educated populace here in the Republic of Korea. No one here gives a tinker's damn about the latest propaganda ploy from Pyongyang. All their attention is given over to the passing of their beloved President Roh, and they're still gathering by the millions, white flowers in hand, to pay their respects.

I had thought that Roh's suicide followed so closely by the North's nuke test and missile launches would be a double-whammy to these longsuffering people, but quite the opposite is true: The memorial services have served as the ideal distraction from the threat of sudden holocaust. (Think JFK/Marilyn Monroe at the height of the Cuban missile crisis.) That's what's really operating here: A populist leader is gone before his time, choosing to "wash the shame" of his people so they can mourn and move on in good time.

And so the men don their suits, the women teeter on their heels, and everybody's at their desk by eight without any visible concern or special preparation for their safety. Maybe part of it is due to this country's peculiar disconnection from the natural world and its limits, which is more pronounced than in any other place I've been. They know the "facts," but simply can't bring themselves to cut back on the smokes and the soju, or to get home before nine every night. They live out their lives in their work clothes and see their families for a few waking hours a week, late at night.

But some of it is clearly that defiance in the face of threat that is the only possible response of the prey, an insistence that the rhythm of life will not be broken, no matter what towers fall, what planes go down, or what viruses are unleashed. Screw 'em, I'm going to work - If we call in sick, the terrorists win. These people know the drill.

And so it continues, far beyond where us incurable doomers would have believed possible.

I really wouldn't be expecting South Korea to worry too much about North Korea anyway. As has been noted previously, this saber-rattling is standard operating procedure for North Korea.

What the heck are you doing in Korea? Let's have a beer. (Seriously. You can join us at home or we can hit one of the many, many bars/hofs/chicken hofs/various other places of drink.)

Your reaction to the non-reaction is kind of comical - in a funny, not insulting, way. As noted by Leanan, I've (and others) posted on this more than once.



The continuing saga of Mother's Cookies...apparently, Archway was the Enron of cookies.

Oh, No! What Happened to Archway?

“Where on earth had all of these sales come from?” Mr. Roberts recalls thinking to himself.

Tired, but intrigued, he began digging through orders and shipping and inventory records until, well after midnight, he reached the conclusion that Archway, based in Battle Creek, Mich., was booking nonexistent sales.

Scientist Blasts Thinking Of Nature As 'Externality'


I think we are beginning to get the message here in Michigan.

"and when you're a farmer you know how utterly dependent we are on nature."

How true. I spent more than one Summer as a youth getting pecked by chickens who didn't appreciate my hands on their eggs. It amazes me how disconnected most people are from nature. Maybe all kids should be exposed to farm life for a Summer or two.

Nature is quite literally our Life Support system on this planet.

My first job was picking eggs at a big hatchery in rural maine where they couldn't reach me from their pathetic cages.., but I did some proper 'OviRaptor' work with the family hens as well..

- but did you ever hear the story of the woman who is at the Butcher's, and he offers her a special on Tongue.. "That comes out of a Cow's Mouth, no, thanks! I'll just take a dozen eggs, please."

Hey Westexas,

If you get a chance, you should read that story posted up top "Saudi Arabia Suffers Lack of Working Women as Oil Fluctuates ". The title is a little misleading. A lot of the story has to do with Saudi ambitions to build new mega cities that would give that growing population something to do (and there for use more oil). It sounds to me like a lot more ELM comes their way.

Pending home sales rise 6.7 percent in April

WASHINGTON - Pending U.S. home sales in April posted the biggest monthly jump in nearly eight years, a sign that home sales are finally coming to life after a long and painful slump.

I thought they were saying that this uptick was mostly from fire sale auctions at pennies on the dollar.

Yes, I think a lot of it is people drawn by the lower prices. I don't buy that the housing downturn is over. Looking at the graph of option ARMs resetting...it's just beginning.

I'm of the opinion that national figures are skewed by just 3 or 4 states. This just isn't the collapse predicted, esp in the hinterlands. As I linked several weeks back, county data across the states isn't near as dire as projected. The vast majority of county foreclosure data show no change or even better than 07.

The ever increasing bubble of home prices has been popped, no doubt about that. But thus far, no doomsday. Contractors here are still very busy. The only downside I've heard as I probed was that one had noted banks were often pushing buyers into resales over new construction, making it dicey in some instances.

The controlling arms in this are unemployment and oil prices IMO. It's probably to early to tell where unemployment is headed, whether it is peaking or will yet rise more. Low oil prices have saved alot of bacon, it's where they are headed that will dictate more. That and the shouldering of all our new debt load. I agree with Rubin, we bailed out Wall street when the big problem lies elsewhere.

thus far

These foreclosures do not happen in a bubble, and if you look at this "recession" compared to others, it's not looking like a recession. If you look at it compared to TGD, we're just getting started.

Leanan clearly noted that there are as many resets coming as we've already seen. Worse, we're just entering the commercial real estate foreclosure cycle. And the personal credit cycle. And we're just getting started on banks failing. And the bond market, as predicted by more than one person, is starting to wobble.

As we get past all the financial whatnot around 2011-12, we likely hit the more direct impact of PO.

And there are those who see ACC as hitting harder than expected even by 2020. (Like me. Once the Arctic goes all blue for the summer, all bets are off.)

Thus far? Famous last words.


Once the Arctic goes all blue for the summer

ccpo --

Do you have a sense for the expected feedbacks if this happens? Diminished albedo --> increased solar absorption --> what's next? Changed ocean circulation, increased methane release, both?

While I'm at it, I had a question on methane I'm having trouble answering. Methane is often cited as 25x more potent than CO2 as a GHG. Is this in the strict physical sense of the reflective capacity of the methane molecule, or does it take into account methane's residence time in the atmosphere? My sense was that methane cycled more quickly, but I couldn't find a breakdown (because, I suppose, it's complicated....)

Curious in Colo.


Global warming potential

Basically, the 25X includes lifetime effects. See the table at 100 years.

Got it. GWP varies with time horizon, but 100 yrs is what gets cited.

Wikipedia. Who knew? ;)

Do you have a sense for the expected feedbacks if this happens?

I'm an admitted seat-of-the-pants guy. For example, I'm terrible at picking games in football, but can pick my team's overall record within a game 9 years out of 10. Full disclosure: I'm a Seahawks fan. My best long-term call? Hasselbeck. Didn't like the trade, never thought he had big game moxie. Witness Super Bowl vs. Pittsburgh. Meltdown. I called it as soon as the trade for him was made.

I do know both sea bed clathrates and permafrost are showing signs of melt and that sea ice melt is felt up to 1k miles inland. (All fully discussed last summer, fall and winter.) I do know from a new study that there is a lag of some decades between onset of permafrost melt and the point at which methane/CO2 release overwhelms the sink created by new vegetation growth. I do know the Arctic is warming faster than any area of the globe and that permafrost and clathrates are within 1 - 3 degrees of melting in earnest.

I am beginning to fear another big melt this winter, but it is way early to actually make a call. There's weakness in the ice in unusual places; most frightening is the less than 100% concentration north of the Canadian Archipelago and Greenland where the thick, old ice is supposed to be gathered.

Black_Dog can give you some numbers on insolation, I think, for an ice-free Arctic.

Then there's the reality that the overall picture is deteriorating faster than scientists can measure and model it. We are literally a hundred years ahead of time on some data - Arctic, Greenland and Antarctic melt, namely.

An ice-free Arctic is expected to affect weather globally. I've never seen this quantified.

So, I don't know what the scores going to be or who is going to win in which games (years), but I do know the other team is gonna kick our arses over the course of the full season minus one Immaculate Hail Mary for a TD in the corner of the endzone with one toe in bounds.

Assuming, of course, we *are* dumber than yeast and can't see fit to share and protect the commons, live without all our toys, and maybe (gasp!) cooperate a little.

Sadly, Staubach, et al., are retired and I think I hear the yeast giggling in Jar #4.


I think we will pass the 2007 minimum this summer. Thin ice and a warmer than average trend starting in May is what I have been noticing. WAG -- it should be a shocking decline. I am looking to be right or wrong before the middle of July.

Arctic Link

The daily graph is back in action and so far I am right -- ice melt accelerated about a month early this year. It won't be official for a month or so...

While I'm at it, I had a question on methane I'm having trouble answering. Methane is often cited as 25x more potent than CO2 as a GHG. Is this in the strict physical sense of the reflective capacity of the methane molecule, or does it take into account methane's residence time in the atmosphere? My sense was that methane cycled more quickly...

Intrinsically a molecule of methane CH4 is less absorptive than a molecule of CO2. The absorption is in a limited number of absorption lines at specific frequencies, the line strengths fall off exponentially as the frequency of the photon is changed from the line frequency. The overall effect of number of molecules times absorptivity means the effective width of these absorption lines varies roughly as the logarithm of the number of molecules. (you can think of the line width as that part of the spectrum where the atmosphere has an optical depth of greater than of equal to one). Since the number of methane molecules (roughly 1800 ppb) is much less than CO2 (385+ppm), the effect of adding an incremental molecule is much greater than adding a CO2 molecule. The methane atmospheric residence time is roughly 10 years, so if you average over a very long time it isn't much of a problem. But the quoted efficacies are for a century time period. Make that period longer and the relative importance (of an incremental release) of methane goes down, make it shorter -say the instantaneous GH effect and it would be several times higher than the quoted number.

The housing market around me doesn't seem to be that bad either, but still the new developments go unsold. We just finished a re-fi to get a 4.5% 30yr, and we chatted with the loan officer we used (the same guy who did our last mortgage, which they still own). He told stories about people coming back now who are desperate, having previously ignored his advice to limit their debt, as well as the incredible credit card debt they were holding. I've read that typical credit card debt is something like $20k, but I could never believe that was true - now I've started to understand that this may be real.

I think the apparent health of housing in some areas is just the variability with region and time, combined with people holding on at any cost while they wait for the promised green shoots to bloom. I'm expecting that with the coming of fall, when they see that those shoots were just poison ivy, many will give up - but that is just my hunch.

And meanwhile, we wait for Gaia to make the big move.

Read the stuff, here on TOD and elsewhere, last fall. Zipping over to Denninger's links, he was a snake oil salesman, predicting utter damnation by one that afternoon.

"As we get past all the financial whatnot around 2011-12, we likely hit the more direct impact of PO"

This is my point. We seem to be getting by the financial whatnot, and quite robustly compared to earlier predictions. Oil prices started this, and oil prices will probably finish it, one way or the other. Unemployment is the other shoe to watch. Although it appears we have moved a notch on the scale that correlates employment and economic health, (ie, the economy can zing with fewer workers, not that many would relish the life of the displaced workers) it's the one that takes forever to correct.

I would be one of the last to disagree on ACC. I have a guest post on it somewhere in the annals of TOD. For me, changing precipitation patterns remain the most dramatic of the effects on mankind.

I think you may be taking people too literally, one, and two, is Denninger everybody? Hyperbole isn't prediction, after all. I am not defending anyone in specific as I don't recall details of the various comments by the various commentators. Also, you must keep in mind how fluid things have been. A certain amount of retrenching is to be expected in a chaotic situation.

From my perspective, there's been a wide range of expectations, even within statements of individuals. I am expecting a fast collapse overall, but that's relative to those (Leanan, Greer, etc.) who see possibly hundreds of years to what they would call full collapse. Others discuss that, no matter what the overall course is, there will be pockets of relative stability, even prosperity. Then there are those who think we have to energetically go back a century or two, but that new technology will actually make this an *improvement* in standard of living.


Short answer: I think your post was relatively hyperbolous. (<-- Not a word.)


And Denninger isn't buying it, either.

So is it prudent to count pending chicks before they hatch?

But on the bright side, it is "optimistic" news.

In case Greg Palst's observation didn't make it here:

Rattner is demanding the bankruptcy court simply wipe away the money GM owes workers for their retirement health insurance. Cash in the insurance fund would be replace by GM stock. The percentage may be 17% of GM's stock - or 25%. Whatever, 17% or 25% is worth, well ... just try paying for your dialysis with 50 shares of bankrupt auto stock. Yet Citibank and Morgan, says Rattner, should get their whole enchilada - $6 billion right now and in cash - from a company that can't pay for auto parts or worker eye exams.

So what's wrong with seizing workers' pension fund money in a bankruptcy? The answer, Mr. Obama, Mr. Law Professor, is that it's illegal. In 1974, after a series of scandalous take-downs of pension and retirement funds during the Nixon era, Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act. ERISA says you can't seize workers' pension funds (whether monthly payments or health insurance) any more than you can seize their private bank accounts. And that's because they are the same thing: workers give up wages in return for retirement benefits.

My understanding of defined benefit plans is as follows:

Assets in the plan cannot be siezed.

Debts owed to the pension plan by the company can be wiped out by a bankruptcy.

In the case of 401 type plans, since the money is the employees, not the employers, the 401K debts are paid first.

Look at the track record. There is no store of wealth that will not be plundered. Tax money? Equity in homes (fabricated or not)? Any agreement of the past is null and void, laws are irrelevant when big money is involved. If there really is any money set aside for worker's benefit, it will be taken, and the laws will be adjusted or ignored to allow that to happen - that is what is happening in all other spheres, why would anyone believe it won't happen for supposedly protected retirement money? If you are not in the top 2% elite of our society, then you should expect that everything you think you own will eventually be taken. Maybe you'll get lucky and keep something, but don't count on it - even stuff you already have in real physical assets can still be taxed, or you'll have to sell it just to survive.

But can you imagine going out to the back yard to dig up the box of buried silver coins, only to find the box full of GM stock?

When I first heard James Howard Kunstler he started off his talk by saying how modern day computers were just complicating everyday Life.... So.... His "updated" website (this week) comes up totally chopped up. I thought it was just my system, but a few friends last night mentioned the same thing.

It's Ironic.

India's Electrifying Women

WASHINGTON, Jun 1 (OneWorld.net) - In India, teams of "barefoot solar engineers" are bringing electricity to rural villages. The project -- part of a larger campaign to help Indian villagers be self-sufficient -- trains women to build and maintain solar energy units.

What's the Story?

The solar power initiative is run by the Barefoot College in Tilonia, a village in Rajasthan, India. Founded by Indian activist Bunker Roy in 1972, the college helps Indian villagers become self-sufficient and puts special emphasis on developing women's skills.

...However, says openDemocracy's Alejandro Litovsky, hundreds of projects from Guatemala to India to Uganda "demonstrate the potential of energy innovations to overcome energy poverty -- a mix of wind, solar, small hydro, biomass power, or technology such as LED lighting."

These initiatives can enable the poor to set up small income-generating businesses and achieve autonomy and independence in energy generation.

"Off-grid projects are increasingly seen in areas where publicly regulated electricity grids have found it unviable to reach," continues Litovsky.

Moreover, he says, new sources of energy "can deliver real change on the ground, enabling citizens to access refrigerated medicines, light schoolrooms, power water pumps, and use mobile telecommunications -- but only if they are tailored to local needs and delivered in sustainable ways."

What a great idea! Why didn't I think of that?


This looks good, too (thanx, Kiashu): Open Source Ecology


Thanks for that story, CCPO -

It reminds me of a thought that came up during Gail's Wind thread as talk of refurbishing the grid ran its familiar course.. I was thinking that it's getting easy enough to have self-owned generation, (while still considered 'too expensive'), that with the onset of more deterioration, outages, maintenance costs and such, rooftop solutions might (as Gail often suggests with other reasons) really undermine the economics of our being willing to invest in a 'new grid'.

I like our ability to send/receive/share/buy-sell power, but I also see it as the ultimate in JIT inventory that we've built our lives around, and that we'd do well to have options available so that a grid outage doesn't stop our world from spinning.

Whether or not a renewable energy system that is off-grid is "too expensive" or not for the average American also depends on how much they are willing to give up. If you can do without the TV being on all the time, do without AC, use propane or natural gas for cooking and hot water, you can cut off that connection to the grid, and run on a system that cost around $2,000. That's too much sacrifice for most Americans, however.

Right now the biggest inconvenience for me is not having a refrigerator. I'll spend another $500 soon and add enough panels to enable me to have one soon, but it's not that great of a priority. Plus, it keeps me from drinking cold beer. haha


While even the word 'Sacrifice' is too much of a sacrifice for many to even utter and admit into their worldviews, I'm wondering how many sacrifices they've already made in today's lifestyle with our over-monetized and commute-heavy existence.

The great thing about sacrificing so much of our attention, consciousness and sense of history is that we don't have to notice it happening..

you can cut off that connection to the grid, and run on a system that cost around $2,000

DIY, I think you mentioned before? Details would be great, if so. I don't recall the details, but I've seen both a panel w/ battery back-up and 1kw windmill both built for $1k, so I know it can be done. Any combination of 5 of those would do any home putting the least bit of effort into conservation. $5K to be off-grid, and comfortably so. Add in an energy-neutral home and you're set.

At least, that's the plan. Reality is thus far intervening. We shall see how long that lasts...


Hello ccpo,

I can confirm the $2,000 for a basic system.

I bought this in 2003, and it included:

(4) 75W PVs, total 300W, ~$1000
(1) Exeltech 1100W Sine wave inverter, ~$600
(4) Trojan T105 6V 220 Ah batteries, ~$250
(1) TriMetric 2020 Meter w/shunt, ~$160
(2) 200A DC breakers, ~$45
(12) Hydrocaps, ~$90

The BoS (balance of system) I mostly did with scrap, including a Square D panel box, breakers, old copper pipe (with shrink wrap) for buss bars, etc.

Today, the PVs are slightly less expensive (see sunelec.com); the other things are a bit more expensive, but the total remains slightly above $2,000.

What this system will do for you is *not* run a refrigerator, but all the lights I could ever need, computer, camera, power tools, stereo, etc. I even used this system as my only power source for building a cob/strawbale house from start to finish, which included running a concrete mixer for a few hours some days (I didn't use it for concrete !).

Anyway, the point is that, while expecting to totally duplicate wasteful use is not reasonable for less than $200,000, it's not that expensive to provide what we need. Yes, I know that many people think we need a refrigerator, and in fact another $1000 will do that for you, you just need to be a bit picky about the efficiency of the refrigerator you buy.

To me, our biggest challenges are not the technical challenges (these are easy), but the worldview changes that need to be made.

Best Regards and good luck with your system,

I don't recall you writing this up for a Campfire post. I'd like to strongly encourage you to do so. I think more people need to understand it simply isn't a return to The Flintstones to live within a carbon budget, that it can be done DIY and that all the calculations for grid power are bullshit without considering what DIY/cummunity-based solutions can achieve.

Besides, I want to do exactly what you have done and would like the blueprint. :)

Should you decide to, I'd be interested in:

* Some detail of physical construction of energy systems and the home. (With regard to the home, the plans can be found, so more on the side of the effort, planning, organization, costs...)

* What your day-to-day life is like in terms of the energy available/needed.

* Any serious challenges you faced/face.

* Region or area for a sense of energy needs wrt weather, etc.


Just wanted to throw in a word of encouragement, ccpo. I'm hoping to buy a full, real pro system down the road. But in the meantime, knowing nothing about anything solar, I used some OT to buy a simple 60W panel, charger, and inverter from Amazon (battery not included). At 5$/watt, its actually kinda expensive compared to many other panels. On the other hand, you get a $20 charger and $10 inverter as well. It's already helped me become comfortable with some of the parts and pieces of a real system. I learn best when I can combine reading with lab work. Once I've got this on the roof, I plan on adding a couple of extra panels to bring it up to 180W. Combined with a 100Ah battery, it out to be enough to give me a system strong and deep enough to run my TV and sat rx every night. The whole system should come in just under $1K and can be bought piecemeal. As I said, I don't really know what I'm doing, but felt like doing something now. Got nothing to lose except cash - and somehow, cash doesn't seem to have the same value to me that it did 12 months ago. (Got this link off LATOC)

Hey Ron,

Thanks for the link. When the time comes, and if availability is still there, I'm planning to go even further down the supply chain and buy individual cells to build the system. Will either put it together myself or with family/friends/neighbors. (Doing all this absent community seems a bit like spitting in the wind...)


If the price differential is limited, then I may pay for the convenience and speed of off-the-shelf systems.

I've attended workshops on solar PV DIY projects and wind generators.

E.g.: http://www.scoraigwind.com/axialplans/index.htm

This is why I know, along with lots of people on the web presenting their work, that it can be done, and cheaply.

So, minus some significant reason why it simply couldn't be done, the plan is to do the house, the energy system and the food ourselves... again, hopefully with like-mindeds. Don't know if that will mean joining with others to form a land trust, joining a land trust, joining an ecovillage, moving to a transition town, doing one of those transition deals with a current farmer wanting to keep his farm going after he's gone... or what have you. I'm always looking at land for sale.

I'm also hoping to attend a permaculture certification course, and perhaps the next level so I can do legitimate training. A teacher's gotta teach, eh?


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — General Motors' Middle East head said the oil-rich region's operations are a "vibrant" part of the automaker and remain open for business, despite its bankruptcy protection filing.

Right - And at the Education Tradeshow in March Apple Computer was saying that the Newton platform is a vital part of their product line. Of course the Newton was cancelled on Feb 27th - a few days before the show.

Like it or not - transportation options in the future will use less Oil products.

Last week I posted news about how some of the UK airlines were faring in what's euphemistically referred to as 'the current economic climate'. British Airways have posted a record loss while Virgin Atlantic have fared a little better by attracting more customers from the higher end of the market, although the airline is still set to make a loss this year.

Now news has come in from the other end of the market, with budget airline Ryanair, run by the lovable Michael O'Leary, also announcing a loss.

Ryanair reports first loss in 20 years as Aer Lingus foray backfires

Ryanair's daring attempt to buy Irish rival Aer Lingus backfired today as Europe's largest budget carrier reported its first loss in 20 years.

The budget carrier, one of the world's most profitable airlines, was dragged €180.5m (£155m) into the red by a €222.5m writedown of its 29.8% stake in struggling Aer Lingus and further charges related to disposals from its rapidly growing fleet.

Ryanair's underlying performance was still profitable once the Aer Lingus foray is stripped out of earnings, but it bore the scars of the recession. The airline made a pre-tax profit of €93.6m for the year to 31 March, a steep fall when compared compared with a profit of €529m for the same period last year, due to a 60% increase in fuel costs. Revenues rose by 8% to €2.9bn, driven by an increase in passenger numbers from 50.9 million to 58.5 million.

It would appear that more people are travelling on the cheaper airlines but this is failing to make up for higher costs, mostly fuel. Desperate Ryanair is attempting to get round this by adding more charges for those little extras, like toilets with a pay-per-pee fee.

Is there a prorated 'per-feces-and-TP-fee' clumped onto that too?

If you read the article, they aren't really interested in fees from toilets (though that's a nice bonus). What they are trying to do is discourage people from using the bathroom on the plane, so they can remove some and replace them with more seats. The average flight time is only an hour, and most people can and will wait that long if they have to pay to go en route. They're just trying to encourage people to go at the airport instead of in flight.

My last couple of Lufthansa flight were in planes where all of the economy lavatories had been moved downstairs to an area carved out from the luggage area and connected with the passenger level with a narrow staircase. Presumably this done to add some seats.

My spouse calls it 'pre-emptive micturation.'

Power demand in industrialized nations usually rises steadily with population growth. However, the sharp drop in the economy, which has shuttered some big power users such as auto plants, has led to an unusually large falloff in demand.

Log of per-capita energy consumption and log of per-capita GDP are highly correlated: an R-squared of about 0.88 and a coefficient that indicates a 1.3% increase in per-capita GDP will be accompanied by a 1% increase in per-capita energy consumption, if IIRC. Arguably, the causality arrow runs in both directions: productivity is largely dependent on the application of external energy, and rich folks can afford larger houses, globe-spanning vacations, etc. Given the published numbers about the drop in US per-capita GDP, a 1.8% decrease in energy consumption seems about right.

Up top!!

"Weak demand for electricity and abundant stockpiles of fuel are creating conditions that could benefit consumers in two important ways this summer: more reliable delivery of power and, in some places, cheaper prices."

Ain"t so! Out here in Phoenix SRP (Salt River Project) announced yesterday that reduced demand is causing an estimated 25 million dollar shortfall to their projected earnings.
They stated they may be forced to ask for a rate increase in order to meet their budget requirements.

Use less, get charged more!!

D. A. Douthit

Use less, get charged more!!

Entities like SRP sell their excess baseload on wholesale markets, usually getting a good price that helps to keep your rates 'low'. With demand/price having collapsed this year, their wholesale revenues are falling precipitously. How marvelous for SRP that they have you, their loyal ratepayer, to pick up the slack! (Hah?)

Frustrating for sure for you DD. Same with most utility consumers. But is it any different then renting a 4 BR house but then have two of the kids move out. Would you expect the landlord to lower the rent since you're not using the 2 BR's? To carry the analogy one step farther: you save rent by moving to a smaller 2 BR house. But you have a lease (same commitment that the consumers have to the utility that built capacity to meet the then current needs. I see as one of the biggest hindrances to expanding alternatives in the utility sector. The consumers will have to pay for the expansion while continuing to pay for the old infrastructure. Similar to the current housing market: great deals on homes now. Unfortunately most are still paying for the depreciated current homes.

From the article Energy shock and oil myths in the drumbeat above:

"Too often, says Tertzakian, writers and economists who subscribe to the doomsday scenarios are “trapped into thinking about energy in the energy realm.” He argues you first need to flip the problem on its head. The amount of energy we use is actually much less than the amount that’s extracted at the source, he says. For instance, of every 100 barrels of oil produced at the wellhead, only 15 barrels are ultimately used by the consumer. All the rest—85 barrels worth—is frittered away, whether in the refining process or in gas engines (where most of the fuel is burned off as heat, not power). The losses are even more dismal when it comes to electricity. For every 100 lb. of coal used to produce electricity, only two per cent reaches the light bulb in your house—98 lb. are lost, either escaping as heat in power lines and transfer stations, or wasted by inefficient appliances. That means small changes in behaviour to limit the amount of energy we use (or waste) ripple up through the system exponentially. “For every unit I don’t use at the wheel, I don’t have to find six units at the wellhead,” says Tertzakian.

That is an interesting way of looking at things.

We already look at things that way here, generally. Virtually every day someone brings up the waste in the system. Off the cuff estimates range anywhere from 25 to 50%+ we could cut in the US without anything resembling true privation.

The explicit statement of it is a nice touch, though.


Yes, it is worth remembering how important conservation is and the many opportunities it presents. Of course, we still have the laws of thermodynamics to deal with. Wonder how long it will take our society to make the changes he suggests given the dearth of efficient price signals to guide our behavior?

That means small changes in behaviour to limit the amount of energy we use (or waste) ripple up through the system exponentially. “For every unit I don’t use at the wheel, I don’t have to find six units at the wellhead,” says Tertzakian.

The reason I selected he quote from Tertzakian is that I was having a brief mental headspin and was hoping someone would point out the serious error in the quote.

Tertzakian implies that 1 unit of oil saved through efficiency results in 6 units not having to be produced from a wellhead. This is incorrect as the 1 unit cannot be saved in isolation. There is no efficiency leverage. One can save 1 unit of energy through efficiency - but that 1 unit of energy is bound to 6 units for delivering the energy to the user. So you can save 7 units or none.

There is no rippling up through the system "exponentially". If that were the case we would only have to cut oil consumption by around 15million barrels per day in order to completely eliminate the entire 85 million barrels per day of oil produced.

Tertzakian mentioned this "exponential" saving on the Jon Stewart TV show. And then he goes on to knock Jeff Rubin's book...

But if you double your gas mileage, for example, the "six units" you effectively consumed before don't have to be produced to get the one that you didn't use. But true, saving does not grow exponentially.

He is clearly in exaggeration land, here. Efficiency improvement is a good thing, but it only comes so fast and can only go so far. The poor energy utilization of the oil/ICE/auto chain has been around for 100 years. It is not a new idea that this is a bad thing. (Perhaps not bad for the economist or politician, because waste seemingly creates jobs).

His 2% light bulb example is also poorly worded. More correct is that only 2% of the energy in the coal actually produces light, after mining, hauling, electricity generation, transmission...but mostly, the inefficient incandescent bulb itself.

What he is missing, though, is the view in the other direction. As the source energy gets more diffuse, the energy needed to harvest it goes up. Replace "oil shale" for oil, and see what the numbers look like.

And speaking of cars, a person I know was bragging about putting 60k miles on a Prius. I feel saved, don't you?

As I understand it, though, the useful units Terzakian is referring to are not exactly units of fuel, but units of work. So if 1 unit of work moving you forward in your car is being done, and 6 units are wasted as heat, etc. then the only way you can save the 7 units is to choose not to drive your car. If you increase your gas mileage, with the same mass of car, you still use the one unit of useful work, and you waste say 3 units. You've used 4 instead of 7: a savings, but not a total savings.

You could choose to do less useful work, with a much lighter car, maybe, and then you could do half a unit of work and end up saving 3.5 units of 7.

It's kind of subtle, but I think that's why initially it strikes you as being incorrect.

We could absolutely save all 85 000 bbl, by choosing to not use whatever they power. But that's frugality, not efficiency.

How much energy is used during the search for conservation and efficiency? And what if the search takes longer than expected? And what if the search is fruitless?


AP source: GM to sell Hummer to Chinese company.

a billion hummers for a billion chinese ? the mind boggles.

Interesting article: Rethinking the Mall

Like this:

Having just witnessed the Sony-backed Metreon mall in San Francisco shift from its failed existence as a “state of the art technology and entertainment marketplace” to a modest farmer’s market, I’d seen the writing on the wall. Hadn’t the shopping center folks?
CommArts’ Crossroads City doesn’t offer a fully realized design for the mall of the future, but it does lay the groundwork for what that mall will consist of. Malls will not only generate sales, they will “grow food, create crafts, manufacture products, generate energy, and provide education.”

Carbon Plan Puts Unfair Burden on LNG

What brazen b.s. from the head of Woodside Petroleum. The proposed but now delayed carbon trading scheme confers a huge advantage on LNG. The scheme will only affect the small amount of gas used to run the generators on the processing plant or 'train'. Since the liquefied gas is entirely exported it is therefore exempt from carbon charges. Other domestic gas users will pay in full but still a lot less than coal users. You give someone a gift and they want more.

The head of CERN wants a cable linking Europe to CSP plant in North Africa. He forgets why they cancelled the 2008 Dakar Rally and moved the 2009 car rally from North Africa to South America.

Carbon Plan Puts Unfair Burden on LNG

Properly done carbon accounting would charge LNG for the carbon used in liquefaction and transportation, which would make LNG substantially more carbon intensive than ordinary NG. I don't know how it compares to coal, but NG starts with a factor of roughly two advantage, and the above mentioned factors will take a considerable dent out of that. So of course the losers (or relative losers) will whine.

I'm with you Boof. Anything that increases the cost of imported LNG will allow a higher price for th NG we sell here. I'm all for that.

Just watched Earth 2100 on ABC. It was alright, but far too hopeful, even though they claim it as worst-case scenario. I think things will collapse much faster than they think...

Hey that was good.
Much darker mix than I expected.

Earth 2100
Scientists predict that without action, population growth, climate change and resource depletion over the next 100 years could result in catastrophe.

The web site for the show:

A brief interruption of the thread: Much thanks to all for your kind words. Mike was a good friend and one of the few left kicking. As some have expressed when such sadness hits you on a personal level you can't help but appreciate what you have and how suddenly you can lose it. Makes all the "big problems" in your life suddenly seem not so big. On Tuesday I had a spinal tap. Laying there with a needle stuck in my vertebra all I could think about how good my life was now….honestly. This is the second friend I’ve lost in the last 6 months. The other fellow went down in a chopper crash in the Persian Gulf. Had a baby less then 1 yo. Again, makes you appreciate all the more each extra day we have.

OK gang…enough drama for one week. Let’s get on with the business at hand.

Oil & Money 2009, October 20 - 21, London

Key topics are likely to include:
  • Strategies for Surviving the Global Economic Crisis;
  • Roundtable on the Predominance of NOCs: Implications of the US shift to a new carbon policy;
  • Energy Security Issues: A return to energy security risk;
  • Oil Price Forecasting: How did the industry get it wrong?

Only 1500 pounds!

After reading the story about population growth, as well as some other stories about oil production rates, etc. I had a realization: If our peak oil consumption is 85 million barrels a day, that translates to 3,570 million gallons, or 13,515 million liters per day. Now, 13.5 billion is a huge number, but we need to put it in perspective. We currently have somewhere between 6 and 7 billion people on this planet. Therefore if all oil was divided up equally among us, it would total about 2 liters, or half a gallon per person, per day, and we are talking crude here. If that was put through a refinery, and converted to gasoline, diesel, etc. we would probably have around half a liter, or 16 fl.oz. of gasoline, and another liter/quart of other combustibles. If you do this mental game for other commodities, you realize that even in an "optimally" configured system, where we utilized these resources as efficiently as possible, it would be probably impossible to sustain a standard of living (contemporary definition) anywhere near our current one, even if our resources were 100% renewable. Now add just the single fact of population growth (not to mention peak oil, pollution, climate change or any other "nasty" thing), we have a recipe for disaster. I think we need a "lifeboat rations list" of all the commodities (amount/person/day) just to put things in perspective. You don't drive too far on less than a gallon per week...

Unfortunately Notherner, that's eactly why I see the powerful usurpe even more of the planet's energy production from the weaker societies. In the past it's been primarily economic strength which pushed the imbalace. It's not difficult to see military power coming into the mix when purchasing power alone isn't sufficient to control the market. The only way to maintain BAU to any acceptable degree is to choke off supplies to the weakest societies. As bad as life is today towards the bottom of the food chain it's not difficult imagining it getting worse

Yes, this will naturally happen, only demarkation line for the have-nots will move higher and higher, with the bottom starting to die off, perhaps keeping the have-not numbers fairly constant. It will be interesting to see what kind of social convulsions this will cause, as people currently used to the "easy life" may not be able to mount any sort of resistance to their falling condition after the resources they are used to are taken away - and before that they see no incentive for it.

Your argument illustrates why some of us see a paradigm shift or collapse as about the only options. But if we fail to mitigate climate issues, down the line somewhere collapse will seem like a holiday.


I just did the same calculations and also came up with nearly 13.5 billion litres per DAY. I thought, this cannot be right, so I am glad to have it confirmed by someone on this site.

That is an absolutely staggering amount of a resource. Petrol in some parts of Europe costs Eu7/liter (US$10) and it is only going to get more expensive in the coming century.

So it can't be right to just extrapolate that the billions living on < $1 a day will be consuming resources in a similar way to the bigger economies.